This Is Where It Ends
by Marieke Nijkamp
UK release date: January 5th, 2016
This is a difficult book to review, for obvious reasons. It feels kind of weird to call it a "good book" given the subject matter, but it was. It was a really good book.Summary: 10:00 a.m. - The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. - The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 - Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
It was gripping, I literally could not put it down -- I'd picked it up intending to just read a chapter and ended up staying up all night to read the entire thing in one sitting.
The characters got under my skin before I even realised it had happened, and I loved that they were a diverse bunch and that it showed sibling relationships, and I really, really loved that the main romantic relationship in the book was between two girls. It was one of those rare multi-POV books where the POV switches didn't bother me -- often I read those and find myself latching onto a specific character and feel like I'm dragging through the others, but in this one I felt invested in all of them
Really, the only issues I had with the book was that the way Tomas's story ended felt a bit too contrived and I wasn't really a fan of a certain aspect of Sylv's story. A part of her story felt like it was just being used as a plot device to make the shooter seem like this evil, irredeemable guy...which really wasn't necessary because when someone goes on a shooting rampage in a school, you don't need to give them some twisted back story to make the reader hate them -- it's kind of superfluous.
I don't think it's a good book to read if you're looking for a story that really delves into the psychology of a school shooting -- one that focuses on the things that make these kind of people snap, or the impact it has on the lives of the people who are there, or the effect on the families of those lost. For a book like that, I'd recommend something more along the lines of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.
This one...it was more -- in the moment? Because while it does include some back story for the characters and touches very briefly on the aftermath, that isn't the strong point of the book. The books strength comes from the fact that you feel the panic and the urgency of what is happening and it hooks you and gets under your skin.
I can't really explain more about that without spoilers, but it'll be obvious which things I'm talking about if you read the book...and you should. Read it, that is. In spite of those things, it was a really good book. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5.